Updated: Jan 19, 2022
"YOU WERE A TRUE GENIUS"
Today (January 19) marks what would’ve been Mac Miller’s 30th birthday, had the beloved rapper/producer not lost his life to an accidental drug overdose in September 2018. More than three years after his tragic death, the imprint Mac left on the hearts and minds of those he crossed paths with ceases to fade.
To commemorate his birthday, Rolling Stone rounded up some of Mac Miller’s closest friends and collaborators to each pen a heartfelt letter to their fallen friend. Fellow Pittsburgh native Wiz Khalifa looked back fondly on his and Mac’s early days coming up in their Steel City hometown.
“Mac, I miss you, man,” Wiz wrote. “Today would have been your 30th birthday, you were gone too soon. I remember our early days back at ID Labs in Pixburgh with E. Dan making legendary music. You were the young homie coming up so fast and representing the Burgh.
“We’ll never forget you, man. Love you, bro, happy birthday.”
Rapsody, who recorded and toured with Mac Miller early in their journeys, remembered her “Extra Extra” collaborator’s warm, fun and free-spirited nature while thanking him for the boost he gave her career.
“Mac! I wish you were still on this side with us,” she wrote. “Your light, heart, energy, gift, and love of fruit snacks is what I miss dearly! I miss you pullin’ up to the stu with the fam, and fans you picked up after a show, so they could kick it while you lit the booth up.
“We’d be like ‘Mac, who are all these people?’ and you’d just shrug, laugh, and say ‘I don’t know.’ Always a good time and adventure. True free spirit. Man, you kicked a door in for me early and we gon’ continue to carry your legacy through the doors we still walking through … I love you forever, Malcolm!”
Dreamville spitter JID, who was scheduled to open for Mac on his 2018 Swimming Tour, recalled the profound impact he had on him, along with praising the late Most Dope musician as a “genius” and “genuine human being.”
“One of my favorite memories of you was being around while you were creating (specifically the Swimming album),” the Atlanta native wrote. “You were a true genius and to watch you in your element was one of the most impactful things I’ve witnessed in my career, outside of you being a genuine human being and a friend to many.
“I hope your legacy speaks to how much of a pioneer you were, sonically.”
Meanwhile, Thundercat — who became one of Mac Miller’s most trusted collaborators, not to mention closest friends — penned a heartbreaking letter wishing him the best in the hereafter while letting him know he’s been heeding his advice.
“I hope that on your birthday, the clarity, and places and spaces that you’ve always wanted to go to, see and feel — I hope that you feel that infinitely,” the bassist wrote. “I hope that you can see further than you’ve ever seen before. I hope that wherever you are, it’s funny. Gotta be funny. If it isn’t funny, it sucks.
“I’ve been taking your advice — sitting down and letting it happen, extremely sitting down and letting it happen. And goodness, I’m happy that I’ve gotten to know you and spend this time with you because your life changed my life. I hope that wherever you are, you’re still changing people’s lives.”
In November, 48-year-old Stephen Andrew Walter and 38-year-old Ryan Michael Reavis pleaded guilty to distributing the fentanyl-laced drugs that resulted in Mac Miller’s death. Walter claims he didn’t know what was in the counterfeit oxycontin pills he sold the rapper, but prosecutors argue otherwise.
Walter’s sentencing is scheduled for March 7, while Reavis is expected in court on April 4. Both men face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release, in addition to a $1 million fine.
Meanwhile, Mac Miller’s legacy continues to live on through his music. In October, his 2014 mixtape Faces arrived on streaming services for the first time, complete with a previously unreleased song called “Yeah.”
The project landed at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 after selling 34,000 album-equivalent units in its first week. 32,000 of that figure came on vinyl, marking the biggest vinyl sales week for a rap album ever (until Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon III: The Chosen broke that record in December).
Earlier this month, “Blue Circle” — from Mac’s 2020 posthumous album Circles — surpassed one million sales in the U.S., making it eligible for platinum certification.